Written by: Emma Jean, Staff Writer
Assistant professor Eundeok Mun, a member of SFU’s physics department, has been awarded as one of Canada’s Tier 2 Research Chairs. Appointed for his work on material physics, the award grants him $100,000 in research funding annually for five years.
The funding from the program will go towards Mun’s continued work leading the Emerging Materials Lab, which aims to create new materials that could aid in future technological advancements. Alongside Mun are several graduate students who work towards the same advancements.
“I am designing new materials to discover new phenomenons, new physics or new science, while also considering the application,” he told The Peak. He focuses on frost-treated magnetism, and freezes it to the lowest possible temperature to understand its properties.
To contextualize the nature of his work, Mun discussed the lab’s current study, which seeks to find a room temperature superconductor which can conduct electricity without resistance, even in freezing temperatures.
“There is some optimism,” he explained. “Based on my past five years, I am seeing some clues that I can make a connection between a superconductor and magnetism. This is a tiny clue but I have to seek the further, big picture.”
This would be a significant tool in creating a room-temperature superconductor, Mun said.
This is the second time Mun has been granted the Tier Two award, having been first awarded it in 2015. Its renewal comes along with 150 other Research Chairs across Canada, each with a specific area of study.
The Canada Research Chairs program is an initiative that funds post-secondary research across the country, and aims to draw international researchers to Canadian institutions. It provides $295 million in funding for researchers each year.
For Mun, the program is what brought him to SFU after previously studying at Iowa State University in the United States, as well as Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea. He has been working to find material breakthroughs for nearly 25 years.
“I’m putting in a lot of labour to find proper, really good material. Then, with the Canada Research Chair, I have a big plan, but who knows. With people doing my research, rolling the dice, there may be some success or maybe all fail, but who knows! I just keep working. This is the reality.”